Sometimes you see something in life that just inspires and makes you think “I want to be able to do that.” I grew up in a small Midwest town, and well let’s just say nothing much happened in my small town. Sure there was crime and the usual everyday life, but for the most part it was just boring. I went off to a boarding high school, then to college, then to Boston. Somewhere along the way I grew interested in graffiti. I definitely did not find that interest from my small town. If there was tagging of any kind, it was with a non-artistic kid that went rogue with a spray can either because they were bored or because maybe someone had pissed them off and they decided to get back with a paint can.
I find it interesting that graffiti originates back to Ancient times, and today it can have a positive or negative connotation. In some neighborhoods, graffiti is welcomed as it means kids are off the streets and putting their energies into an art form. In other areas, it is looked at as controversial because of what the art might depict to other community members. Either way, I always gravitate towards graffiti that is done well, even if sometimes I find I do not understand what I am looking at – isn’t that the case with many types of art? You see what you see, or you see what you want to see.
Take a moment to watch this five-minute video of a graffiti installation (or part of it). The amount of time that must have taken, and the creativity and talent of these Australian graffiti artists.
I am from the Midwest. I have not been back home for over 11 years, but there are parts of Indiana you can not take out of me. There are pieces of my childhood (sometimes redneck and all) that are the fibers of who I am. When my language goes a little to that of an expletive nature, Chris has a saying for me: “How are you doing DC?” Those were my father’s initials. It is though he is channeling me. He was a trash talker and most likely is where I learned the swear words that come out of my mouth. Of course if I ever mimicked him as a child I got in so much trouble.
There are often articles and images and videos that are shared on the Internet that remind me so much of my childhood. We were poor. Indiana is, well, Indiana. It is the Midwest and things are just different. Creativity might look a bit different from say it would in San Francisco or New York City. You might not have the space to roam and ponder how to sit on your butt in a chair and not have to chase after every ball as you teach your kid to play baseball. Maybe you do not have batting cages in your town, or if you do have them, maybe spending the money is not in your monthly budget.
Whatever the case, a clever idea is a clever idea.
I am in a playful mood. Maybe it is because we are heading into a three-day holiday weekend, and I am looking forward to sleeping in, being with friends, getting some projects done, and relaxing. It is amazing what an extra day in your weekend can do for your spirit. I am not really a holiday person, but I relish the idea of getting to have some down time, and to be quiet with Chris. It is hard to believe that it is already July. Do you ever wake up and wonder where all the time has gone?
Summers for me growing up, (that I can remember) meant humidity, box fans, and sweat. I never complained, it was what life was like growing up in the Midwest. We never had air conditioning, so I remember my mom often making our sheets cold/wet and we each had a box fan blowing on us to cool off. I did not know any better. Except when I spent time at my grandma’s house – yes, she had air conditioning. I think I must have loved my bed too much to care, otherwise I think I would have tried to spend as much time as possible at my grandma’s house.
Ah, summer. I remember riding my bike, going through the woods to the Village Pantry (aka our local 7 Eleven, ahh the joys of candy), and my paper route. I babysat a lot of kids in the neighborhood, so maybe you could say I worked my ass off during the summer. I must have appreciated all those homes that had air conditioning.
I hope you have a playful, laid back, fun, and family/friend filled holiday weekend. Be safe, and appreciate all those that you are with over the weekend. We all have so much to be grateful for – play hard and tell someone how much they mean to you.
Growing up in the Midwest, we called the thing you use to clean your rugs a sweeper. Yes regardless of whether you were cleaning a hardwood floor or a rug or carpet we would say: are you going to sweep? Now I say the collective “we” but I really mean my family growing up. Jump forward to my life with Chris and I would ask if he was going to “sweep” and he would just chuckle and ask what I meant. To him sweeping was when you were going to use a broom and truly “sweep.” Using a vacuum on carpet was “vacuuming.” I think I am 75% converted, but I still have slips where I ask if he is going to “sweep the rug.” Any other Midwesterners out there that said the same thing, or is this just something that was strange about my family?
In any case, this idea of sweeping was one I came across recently, and it made me ponder the idea of “sweeping.” The idea of sweeping and clearing away the gunk for new energy, is a welcome concept for me. One I had not thought about much before reading this Daily Om, titled: “Releasing and Welcoming.” This line particularly inspired me:
“Sweeping each morning prepares the ground for the new day at the same time as it deepens our awareness of the importance of letting go of the past to welcome the present.”
While I do not sweep each morning I am a clean freak, and this idea can translate to many other cleansing rituals I do around the house. For example, if I am inspired to be creative, I first want to clean and clear the gunk, extra stuff, and organize my life first. Once I have done so, I find that my creative time whether in front of the easel, or with pen and paper is that much richer. I have unearthed and removed the dirty thoughts, frustrations, and extra junk in order to find the space to welcome new creative ideas.
I do just the same thing at work. At times I might feel stuck about an idea or a new project. My teammates might find me start to clean my desk area, or the larger team space. I begin to organize. Sometimes I hear the mutter of: “here she goes again.” Often in the act of cleaning and organizing, I find the answer I needed for that project, and I go back and dig into it with gusto. It is amazing what a “vacuum” or “broom” can do to sweep away the crap. Yes, the 25% of me that still says “sweep the rug” will always be. You can take the girl out of Indiana, but you cannot take Indiana out of the girl.
It has been a strange week. I have felt like there is a cord loose in my brain. This crud that is going around, has made the wiring inside me be off, and yesterday I think I started to feel more like myself (2 weeks later). Let’s hope that it stays, as I am pining to get back on my run schedule, and if it is up to Chris he would hide my running shoes until he knows I am 100% again. Good hubby. Good thing I have a few pairs of running shoes I can lace up and go. Here is hoping I have the energy.
my favorite lit tree with snow
Yesterday, Portland was coated with a fairly deep layer of snow. Yes, snow in Portland! Such a fun and beautiful surprise. However, we are supposed to have snow later today and tomorrow, so for Portland that means mass mayhem, chaos, and well staying in. Us Portlanders are not used to snow, and even though I am a transplant, my blood has thinned gradually over the last ten years. I spent a good part of my life in the midwest, a chunk of years in Boston, and now Portland has weakened the heartiness to shoveling snow and cold enough temperatures to have snow grace our world. Call me a wuss, but I am done with snow.
Being done with the crud, a bit of snow, and a little time yesterday with a colleague’s twin babies, has mellowed my outlook, and given me a few moments to slow down. I had a few frustrating moments yesterday, and the moment I had a 10 month old in my arms, all my thoughts melted away. I no longer cared about what was bugging me, I just wanted to make them laugh and smile, and nothing else really mattered. Ah, what unconditional love can do to let go of things that do not really matter.
Amazing what a little snow, two babies, and no more crud can do to your outlook on life. Happy Friday!